Understanding the Different Types of Fractures

Any bone in your body can suffer a fracture. While common language refers to bone “breaks,” orthopaedic specialists generally use the term fracture, which includes cracks, splits, or shatters as well as cases where a bone is broken into two pieces. 

For the best care after a fracture or the improper healing of a fracture, you’ll choose an orthopaedic surgeon like Eric E. Johnson, MD, of Los Angeles. Dr. Johnson is an orthopaedic trauma expert, trained and recognized internationally. He offers his services to patients through his Westwood office.  

Grouping fractures

There are several ways that fracture types are grouped. Perhaps the most basic is a two-level grouping of open versus closed fractures. 

These groups refer to damage to other tissue surrounding the fracture, primarily the skin. If a bone damages the skin, the fracture is “open” and at greater risk of infection since external pathogens have an unprotected route into the body. An open fracture is also called a compound fracture. “Closed” fractures leave the skin intact, and the chances of a deep bone infection are correspondingly smaller. 

Another two-level grouping is displaced versus non-displaced fractures. These types refer to bone alignment after the fracture occurs. “Displaced” fractures involve bone movement so that the pieces of bone are no longer in their natural position or alignment. “Non-displaced” fractures include partially cracked or completely separated bones, but remain in their natural position and alignment, also known as a stable fracture. 

While all fractures can be described within these two groups, there are many more fractures that give more specific information about the patient’s condition. 

Fracture subtypes

These subtypes describe the fracture itself, how the fracture originated, or other injuries that combine with the fracture. 

If you have a fracture injury that needs treatment or a previous fracture that has healed poorly, contact Eric E. Johnson, MD, to arrange a personal consultation. Call the office directly at 424-309-1492 to schedule your appointment now. 

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